Working for Smart Growth:
More Livable Places and Open Spaces


Gant-Gilbert Arts Collective

Project Name: Gant-Gilbert Arts Collective

A mixed-use, community-oriented, artist-focused, affordable housing project located in the Clinton Hill section of Newark including community and office spaces, café, and gallery below 27 affordable units.

Primary Partner Team: City of Newark | Invest Newark | OCA Architects, Inc.



Newark, NJ has a world renowned and long-established contribution to the arts. The Gant-Gilbert Arts Collective leverages this steep history of arts appreciation into new opportunities for rising artists by redeveloping an abandoned bank building into a mixed-use, community-oriented, artist-focused rental housing project in Clinton Hill. By redeveloping a vacant bank building into affordable housing units, Newark is adding 27 apartments into a site that promises to be a central hub of the neighborhood and is demonstrating the positive impact innovative redevelopment can have on a community. 

Listening and understanding the needs of the local community shaped this development and its amenities. The bank sat vacant for 40 years, becoming a chronic eyesore before converting into a city property in 2005. City leaders saw the opportunity with this municipal property to transform it into something that contributed to the Clinton Hill neighborhood by housing artists affordably and establishing a hub for creativity in the neighborhood with exhibition space and a ground floor cafe. Invest Newark served as the lead developer. They prioritized including local businesses and the art community during the planning process. Their work, in tandem with the City of Newark and OCA Architects, Inc., ensured that the resulting project is responsive to community needs, seizes the opportunity of redevelopment, and provides ample space for community creativity and street life to flourish.  

Public arts can increase civic pride and engagement, while the building itself serves to stabilize and shelter local Newark artists. With loft apartment units, on-site cafe, gallery space, and micro-office spaces, residents of the Gant-Gilbert Arts Collective (GGAC) project will be able to conceive, execute, and exhibit their works all on-site. Planned art exhibitions—including a unique partnership between GGAC and the Newark Symphony Hall to conduct satellite concerts at the on-site performing arts space—and programming will draw local and citywide community members to the building space, shops, gallery and neighborhood. 

New Jersey Future is thrilled to honor the Gant-Gilbert Arts Collective project with a 2023 Smart Growth Award. This project’s innovative reuse of a vacant bank to house local artists and support their creative pursuits in a manner that invites public appreciation of arts at the local, neighborhood level is an example for other cities and developers to follow. These tandem pursuits—neighborhood improvement through adding housing and street life—embody smart growth principles and serve as an inspirational example for other developers and cities across the state.


See all 2023 Smart Growth Award winners

© New Jersey Future, 16 W. Lafayette St. • Trenton, NJ 08608 • Phone: 609-393-0008 • Fax: 609-360-8478

Are you receiving our email newsletter?

  • Latest news on land-use policy issues
  • Research and reports
  • Upcoming events
  • Monthly

Click to subscribe